Zoids Wild Medium Wind-Up Toy Kit
Item No.: ??? Manufacturer:Takara-Tomy Includes: Stickers, pilot Action Feature:Fights, bites, walks, wags Retail:$28 (3,000 yen) Availability: June 2018 Other: Blue armor, red eyes
If you've heard me go on a riff about toys, Zoids comes up as one of those lines from when I was a kid where I was happy that it kept coming back, despite the fact American kids didn't want them. The first line came and went before I was old enough for them, Robo-Strux hit on my sixth birthday - and I was hooked. I'd get a couple then, my dad picked me a few up in Japan, a local hobby store imported some, Kenner brought them back right before college, and then there was a revival during my studies. And now I'm old and I can get a brand new ZW-06 Gabrigator. It It reminds me a tiny bit of one of my all-time favorite toys, Neptune [FOTD #486] which also had an enlarged figure riding on its back. It is divine. This new one is pretty good, too.
The 11-inch long kit looks like a platypus mated with an alligator, with some tank DNA mixed in for good effort. The blue with a splash of purple look has metalized red eyes in its skull, plus removable colored armor on a black frame. You can customize it with stickers, and I opted to match the box - there's a whole sheet of numbers and faction logos so you can make it yours. It takes under 30 minutes to assemble, and as with the other kits the parts are pre-trimmed from sprues. I find myself missing the step of liberating parts from the thin, brittle plastic frames we saw in the 20th century kits. This is clearly simplified, but the resulting kit isn't any worse off. It costs more, but it seems smoother and I don't have to trim the little sharp plastic bits from when you twist off the parts from the trees.
I like the overall design a lot, and it seems this was designed with crazy customization and expansion possibilities in mind. 3mm pegs and holes dot the surface of this reptilian robot, providing places to mount weapons if and when they release expansion kits (or if you steal them from old kits.) The feet are silver, and the bulk of the toy is fairly evenly colored. One feature I especially love are that the creature's blade-like teeth are so long, they jut through the top of the snout - that's a heck of a dental problem.
Orthodontics are the order of the day when you switch the toy to its walk, "brute" mode. Normally you flick a switch behind the tail - which is particularly finicky - and the little guy sweeps his tail back and forth while his head looks around and he waddles forward. The multi-segment tail looks particularly great, and I love the personality of the head as it looks around. It's charming, and largely harmless - there aren't many guns or weapons on most of these toys. It just looks cute. When you slide the head forward a bit, things change - the head extends open in a ridiculous biting attack, chomping down as it stumbles forward in a threat to anyone who dares cross its path. It's glorious and goofy, an amazing battery-powered motorized feature that you get to bring to life yourself.
The brightly-colored stickers match the kit nicely, with "Caviar" as the driver's name and "Death Metal" as a rather goofy named faction. It might click with export markets, but it's kind of silly. What next, a robot named "Jazz?"
There's very little else like it, and so far this is my favorite of these new kits. Even though the switch is a bit of a nuisance, I love how it looks, how it moves, and how it "attacks." If it ever shows up at a store near you, you should buy it - if I have a shot at a cheap one, I'd be tempted to do some customizing on it and see what I get. It's a delight, and it's a lot of fun to put together and futz with. The core "play" value of Zoids tends to be assembly, as you can't do a lot with it once it's built other than treat it carefully and send it marching across a flat surface. Thankfully it's neat enough that the walking is worth my while, likely spoiling me for future kits. As I write this last August, I can't imagine and of the other new kits will be as fun, as perfect, as wonderfully designed.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.